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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-21-06, 11:30 PM   #1
WoodsterSS
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Best bars for climbing on ss/fixie?

I've begun saving my change for a C'dale Capo, but I'm not happy with the bars with respect to climbing. For one thing they felt too narrow. I expect all my climbs on the Capo to be of the stand and suffer kind and I am wondering, should I be on the hoods of traditional drops, looking at Midge drops or something moustachey? I climb on my offroad ss using a 28" riser bar and I love the wide position of my arms, but for the road it would be nice to have a few more positions. I am tall (6'4" or 5" depending on who I am compared to) so I am hoping with the 62 cm Capo I won't have to bend over too much on the drops if I go that route. I'd appreciate any advice.
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Old 12-21-06, 11:34 PM   #2
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bullhorns, bro, they're unbeatable for climbing and multiple positions.
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Old 12-21-06, 11:37 PM   #3
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never seen jones h-bars on a fixie, but they migt be something to think about.
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Old 12-21-06, 11:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by number18
bullhorns, bro, they're unbeatable for climbing and multiple positions.
Forgot about that option--can you get wide ones?
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Old 12-21-06, 11:42 PM   #5
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Yeah. Well, I've seen some up to 44, I b'leeve.
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Old 12-21-06, 11:44 PM   #6
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I've heard midges are ridiculously good for climbing. I've never ridden them before, though. So I guess I have little to contribute.
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Old 12-21-06, 11:49 PM   #7
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Moustache bars are pretty nice and wide, hence good for climbing..
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Old 12-22-06, 01:06 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ryanday
I've heard midges are ridiculously good for climbing. I've never ridden them before, though. So I guess I have little to contribute.
I looked up the midges and they were 580mm or about 23in from bar end to bar end. The largest "regular" drop bars I found were the Nitto's from Rivendale (48cm--19in), so they are definitely wider on the drops--I wonder about the tops?
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Old 12-22-06, 01:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by el twe
Yeah. Well, I've seen some up to 44, I b'leeve.
Supposedly the Soma bullhorns go up to 46. Moustache bars are nice for climbs but I'm not crazy about them for other things. Midges seem like a good way to go. I have some old school Specialized BB-1 dirt drop-style bars that are nice and wide in the drops but it's a much deeper drop than the Midges.
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Old 12-22-06, 01:17 AM   #10
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whenever i need to go up a big hill i just get down in my drops and hammer.
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Old 12-22-06, 01:31 AM   #11
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Thanks for the advice. I guess Midges have it for width, still that's 23" versus 28" on the MTB. If you were pedalling out of the saddle on a Midge would you hold the hoods like a conventional drop bar or the drops? I presume the arms would be much closer in than 23" on the hoods. When I climb out of the saddle using the hoods on my current road bike, I feel like there is more control than with the drops, but there is even more control with the MTB riser. Is there some climbing formula I should be knowing about here? Or is every bar just a compromise?
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Old 12-22-06, 01:33 AM   #12
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I don't think there's a formula. it's different for everyone.
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Old 12-22-06, 06:11 AM   #13
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You really haven't provided enough information...like are you climbing monster steep hills in a big gear...or chickensh1t hills in a little gear? Clipless pedals may effect your climbing technique as well. As you develop the legs and techniques for climbing with only one gear...the way you climb will change. Wide bars really aren't necessary if you are a strong climber....strong efficient climbing with one gear is more about staying in the saddle and using all of your leg muscles to apply both a powerful downstroke and upstroke. Saddle position is also an important factor as is where you actually place your butt on the saddle when you climb.When climbing a tough hill, slide back for more power and to save your knees. For a strong climber, the standing/mashing/swinging your bike back and forth method is really just a last ditch effort technique when your legs get really fatigued. Its slower and less efficient. Even when you get good at the standing mashing method, wide bars aren't really all that helpful either. Wide bars really don't translate into more leg leverage, which is where you really need it. Swinging your bike back and forth wastes energy and its wise to minimize it. Moreover, it does not magically allow you to push the pedals with less force.
My advice would be to stick with the drop bars and learn how to climb using all of the hand positions...they each work well for different aspects of climbing. Also, if you don't use clipless, switching to clipless will greatly improve your power once you develop all of your leg muscles.

Last edited by mihlbach; 12-22-06 at 06:33 AM.
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Old 12-22-06, 08:11 AM   #14
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Look at what the pro's use for climbing. Set your bike up like a roadie. Use traditional drop bars and hoods.

Bullhorns are great for short climbs but for long ones, they put you in a position that is too low. I use 46cm road drops with fakey brake hoods. This gives you the most hand positions and a more upright position for long climbs. For the short climbs you can still climb in the drops.

As far as bar width, this is calculated by the width of your shoulder blades (???) I believe. I am 6'5" and am one of the few people who actually need the 46cm (c-c) width. I also broke my scapula a few years back and the wide bar helps with the discomfort. But like everything else, everyone has a different opinion on this subject
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Old 12-22-06, 08:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captsven
Bullhorns are great for short climbs but for long ones, they put you in a position that is too low.
maybe, maybe not. i have bullhorns on my bike, a bit below my saddle but not a huge drop. the horn part is good for out of the saddle stuff, when i need to get out of the saddle up a steep hill. for longer stuff, i scoot back on my saddle a significant amount and i keep my hands on the flats. scooting back helps me spin more smoothely. climbing isn't all about where your hands are. try also different saddle positions.
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Old 12-22-06, 08:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodsterSS
I expect all my climbs on the Capo to be of the stand and suffer kind...
Bullhorns.

I climb by getting out of the saddle, putting my weight over the bullhorns, and pulling myself uphill.

I don't mash.

I pull.

Rather than mashing with my quads, I pull with my hamstrings.

By pulling myself uphill, I can engage more of my body.

Many hands make light work, and the more I can distribute the work throughout my body, the easier it gets.

I've adusted the height and angle of my bullhorns so that I can lean way forward over them and pull.

Did I mention pulling?
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Old 12-22-06, 08:24 AM   #17
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Road bars like Cinelli crit bars.

S/F,
CEYA!
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Old 12-22-06, 08:34 AM   #18
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I've adusted the height and angle of my bullhorns so that I can lean way forward over them and pull.
This is exactly the way I did it when I used bull horns. It is more like a sprinting positon. As far as long climbs, i do not think it is as efficient as standing more upright, on the hoods with your weight more over the BB.
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Old 12-22-06, 09:18 AM   #19
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for the record dropbars give you all the climbing positions bullhorns do, but with drops...

seriously look at a clmbing stage of any road race... those fuggers climb huge ***** really fast on dropbars.

that said i use risers on my fixie and they climb aight too. and since i do most of my riding offroad anyway the risers feel really natural to me on the fixie.
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Old 12-22-06, 09:21 AM   #20
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I like Bullhorns but its really all personal preference.
I think Profile has some really wide stoker bullhorns
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Old 12-22-06, 09:29 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max-a-mill
for the record dropbars give you all the climbing positions bullhorns do, but with drops...

seriously look at a clmbing stage of any road race... those fuggers climb huge ***** really fast on dropbars.

that said i use risers on my fixie and they climb aight too. and since i do most of my riding offroad anyway the risers feel really natural to me on the fixie.
wondering: are you doing fixed off-road? i'd like to see pics of that set up if so...
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Old 12-22-06, 09:45 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceya
Road bars like Cinelli crit bars.

S/F,
CEYA!
I love these. They are somehow midway between track bars (early bend forward) and road bars (shallow drop).



Still, I prefer bullhorns setup high for serious climbing.
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Old 12-22-06, 09:56 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iridetitus
wondering: are you doing fixed off-road? i'd like to see pics of that set up if so...
nope haven't gotten the bug to do that yet.

have seen quite a few people doing it though. the bikes really run the gambit from your average racy lookin singlspeed to the dirtdrop cyclocross guys riding on bikes i would be scared to ride trails on (let alone fixed).

if i were to do it i'd just put a fixed wheel on my normal singlespeed. nothin crazy (other than not being able to coast while riding logs & rocks) this summer when it is nice and dry and i hit some of the smoother trails in the area i aim to give it a whirl at least once.
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Old 12-22-06, 09:58 AM   #24
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maybe some of you guys don't like climbing on the drops so much due to the absence of the hoods to hang on to???
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Old 12-22-06, 10:51 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max-a-mill
maybe some of you guys don't like climbing on the drops so much due to the absence of the hoods to hang on to???
With hoodless drops, just hold on the the part of the bar that bends forward...it takes getting used to, but its similar to holding onto hoods. I hook my index finger around the front of the bar and wrap my other fingers down below the bar. I find hoodless drops to be stable and quite comfortable. Heres how I use hoodless drops..

1. Flat part -this is for the two extremes: a relaxing pace and for extreme powerstroke (using quads and hamstrings) for fast seated climbing up a hill.
2. Normal drop part (not the very bottom of the drop, but on the inside of the bend) - I use this for fast, sustained high cadence on flats, or going fast down a hill, or against big winds.
3. The very bottom of the drop at the end of the bar...basically for sprinting.
4. The part at the top that bends forward...I use this for climbing out of the saddle and when riding at a long sustained intermediate pace. I also use this part when transitioning from the flats to the drops or vice versa, like when I climb a big hill holding onto the flat part, then when I approach the peak, I'll go to the bend, which is a better position as my cadence begins to increase. Then as I start to go downhill, I will move to the drop position.
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